E-toll system to go live on December 3

Transport Minister Dipou Peters has announced that the e-tolling system will be launched on December 3 2013.

This spells bad news for what seems to be the majority of motorists after the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) said on Tuesday the transport ministry reported it was sitting with over 1.4-million unsold e-tags.

"Sanral procured 2 107 000 e-tags over the past three years; [a total of] 1 427 900 have not been allocated," Peters said in a written reply to a parliamentary question at the time.

The figures imply 679 100 e-tags have been sold. Six weeks ago, Sanral chief executive Nazir Ali said 600 000 e-toll tags were in circulation.

In her reply, Peters also said Sanral spent about R25.3-million during the period January to October this year on campaigns to encourage the public to buy e-tags.

This was in addition to about R11.3-million spent in November and December last year.

Opposition
Meanwhile, political parties have expressed their opposition to the e-tolling system, with the Democratic Alliance (DA) being the most vocal.

The DA Mmusi Maimane took his campaign to be Gauteng premier to the e-tolling system, vowing to hold a referendum about the controversial system should his party take power in the province in the 2014 general elections.

Maimane also said the DA would seek an interdict against further e-tolling being rolled out in the province.

"Given enough time, we will certainly see more tolls being polled in this province," said Maimane. "I would expect at least 300km of the provincial highways will be tolled in phase two of this project and it will no doubt be pushed in the same manner as the first phase."

He pointed out that interdicts have been successful where the party governs in the Western Cape, pending a review of the system.

Should his party win the province, they would be able to enter into mediation with the national government over the e-tolls, under an existing mechanism in the Constitution and the 2005 Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act, Maimane said.

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